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1. John writes. 3. Come home.

2. Were he here I would answer him. 4. I wish to go.

In these sentences writes expresses a fact, were expresses a supposition or a condition, would answer expresses an inclination, come expresses a command or request, and to go merely names an action.

The use or form of the verb that indicates the manner of expressing an act or state is called mode.

Study these sentences to see whether the act or state is expressed, as a fact, as a supposition, as a condition, as an inclination, as a request, or merely as the name


1. The thoughts of youth are long thoughts.

2. Will you come early?

3. Take good aim! Shoot straight I

4. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down.

5. Joshua commanded the sun to stand still.

Four modes are found in these sentences.

Are, will come, shall be cast, and commanded, are in the indicative mode.

The indicative mode is the use or form of the verb that expresses a fact or asks a question.

Take and shoot are in the imperative mode.

The imperative mode is the use, or form, of the verb that expresses a command or request.

The subject of the imperative mode is generally not expressed, but understood. It is thou, you, or ye.

Fall, in sentence four, is in the subjunctive mode, because it expresses a supposition and not a fact.

A verb in the subjunctive mode is usually introduced by a conjunction expressing doubt or uncertainty. The conjunctions if, though, unless, lest, except, and that, are most frequently used for this purpose.

1. Had he been industrious he would now be prosperous.

2. Had the message reached him in time, the accident would not have happened.

In these two sentences, the conjunctions are omitted; but the supposition is clear in both cases.

Had been and had reached are therefore in the subjunctive mode.


Potential forms of may and can used with other verbs are sometimes called the Potential Mode.

When, however, the conjunction is omitted, a part or the whole of the verb is usually placed before the subject.

The subjunctive mode is the use or form of the verb that expresses what is uncertain, wished for, intended to result or conditionally untrue.

1. Study lest you fail.

2. Oh! that he were here!

3. The judge decided that the man be imprisoned three months.

4. Were he dead the world would be as well off.

A study of these sentences shows that the subjunctive mode may express:

1. An uncertain future.

2. A wish.

3. An intended result.

4. A condition thought of as uncertain or untrue.

Point out the verbs in the subjunctive mode in the follow-ing sentences, and tell what each expresses:

1. I would I were a bird.

2. Let him that standeth take heed lest he fall.

3. Thou shalt stone him with stones that he die.

4. If any member of this club absent himself he shall forfeit ten cents.

5. If it rain I shall not come.

6. Though he lose his life, he will not lose his honor.

Write sentences giving examples of each of the four conditions expressed by the subjunctive mode.

Select sentences from your reader containing verbs in the subjunctive mode.

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